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The Commish is not just one single person, it is a real and true thought experiment of many different entities. That's also why the Commish has no preferred pronouns and you


can call the Commish anything and anyway you want. Makes no difference to the Commish. The Commish lives in the minds of all tennis professionals, tennis players, tennis organizers, everyone with a clear and logical thought pocess. 


You CAN Fool Most of the People All of the Time

By The Commish

Here’s a bit of spin on the turtle and fox fable.  Living in the same pond with a turtle, the fox quickly found out that it could not feast on the turtle due to the hard shell.  As an idea, the fox offered the turtle a large sum of money for his shell…wisely, the turtle turned him down.  The fox then came up with a new idea, he went to the turtle and apologized for being so rude as to offer him money for his prize possession and presented him with two brand new wide-screen T.V.s, along with a free internet hook up.  The turtle accepted, after all, living in a pond and not having much mobility, was quite boring. 


In the next few weeks, one of the T.V.s began to broadcast a story that foxes had become vegetarians.  Every day there was a new spin on this info, but the overall message was the same.  Soon afterwards, on the other T.V. a story started coming out that turtles could fly if they lost their heavy shells.  Made since, as it turns out turtles are closely related to birds.  After several weeks of these stories being broadcasted, the fox once again came back to the turtle and made a handsome financial offer for his shell.  The turtle replied, “I’ve been thinking about that and since you’re now a vegetarian, and I would be able to fly if I didn’t have this shell, let’s go for it.” 


The ending of this story is rather predictable, the moral may two-fold. 

First, given enough false information even wise turtles, and probably people, will give up what they cherish most in hopes of getting something better. 


Second, if you can control the dialogue and the message, you can control most decisions that people, and that could be extended to, will make.


This story is relevant to many, but especially to those in the tennis industry.  In the last few years, it seems that more and more of our tennis information is coming from fewer and fewer sources.  The tennis channel, Tennis Magazine, and several organizations that provide information for tennis enthusiasts are all coming from one source of media: Sinclair Broadcast Group. 



- Headquartered in the Baltimore suburb of Cockeysville, Maryland, the company is the second-largest television station operator in the United States by number of stations (after Nexstar Media Group), owning or operating a total of 193 stations across the country in over 100 markets

- On January 27, 2016, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced that it would acquire Tennis Channel for $350 million. The channel's corporation comes with $200 million in net operating losses that SBGI can use to offset future income thus reducing taxes.

- On March 1, 2017, Sinclair bought Tennis Media Company for $8 million, which includes the website and Tennis magazine; the deal also includes up to $6 million in earnout if certain targets are reached. Sinclair intends to integrate the properties with Tennis Channel.

The USTA is following that same pattern by recently taking over the Tennis Industry Association.  In fairness, so far, their announcements and updates have been very open and informative, but there is still the sense that all that information is coming from one source: their owners.  It was only a few years ago that this organization was run mostly independently and operated using funds from manufacturers in the industry. They provided both alternate solutions and diplomatically addressed some of the concerns with how the USTA operated.  They also provide a yearly open convention for discussion among industry participants. 


We need to look at this closely, this means, for the most part, we have only Sinclair and the USTA providing us information about the sport of tennis in the USA.  Although the USTA is broken up into sections, it is dominated by the US Open and the messages that emanate from that venue.  In addition, because Tennis Magazine is now produced by one company with one agenda, it’s not likely we will get a diversified representation.  Will independent magazines and internet sources capitulate to the pressure from these large organizations, or will they be intimidated into playing ball in order to stay in business.


Time will tale, and the only question is, will this new power move to control the message, result in some serious push back, or will we be heading towards the same result as the turtle in that pond?  


Photo by Kevin Mueller on Unsplash

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